25 Things Every Kid Should Do Before Kindergarten

25 Things Every Kid Should Do Before Kindergarten

baby on swing

Our kids grow up so fast -- too fast -- and there are so many incredible things they do besides hitting those milestones that bring so much joy not only to them but to us. And because of that, all kids should have a bucket list of things that they will enjoy more when they are young, before the magic of childhood dims a little, before their insecurities set in, and before they are embarrassed by their boring old mom.

Adult bucket lists are often filled with pricey, once-in a lifetime experiences and thrills that will leave us breathless and broke, such as jumping out of an airplane or sharing a kiss with someone special on top of the Eiffel Tower. The good thing about a kindergarten bucket list is that although reaching the age of 5 is certainly a major milestone, children still have the rest of their lives ahead of them. And they're at an age where even small things can still seem special and magical. These are things they can do with little fuss or fanfare but will still leave a lasting imprint on their memory forever. 

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These childhood experiences would make incredible memories not just for the kindy-bound, but for the entire family. Check out the 25 things all kids should do before they enter kindergarten.

And let us know: Which ones are definitely getting added to the ol' bucket list?

do before age 6

Image via Donny Ray Jones/Flickr and © BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

  • Meet a Princess


    Image via Serena/Flickr

    The look on a child's face when meeting a "real-live" princess is priceless. It's a moment they will forever remember and so will you.

  • Ride a Merry-Go-Round


    Image via Lachlan Hardy/Flickr

    There is so much wonderment and joy when a child has his first merry-go-round ride, and perhaps you even remember your own first time on the carnival favorite. The music will always take you back.

  • Splash in Puddles


    Image via Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr

    Part of being a kid is getting dirty and soaking wet and not having a care in the world about messing up shoes or socks or clothes. Let your child do this while she still has that joy. (Though be close to home or have dry socks and shoes handy because after the excitement of it is over, they will want to be dry again.)

  • Play in a Sandbox


    Image via F Delventhal/Flickr

    Kids love sandboxes. Sometimes you just can't get them out once they are playing with that coarse sand, and sometimes it's slightly wet enabling them to build things or to just let it slide through their fingers. It doesn't bother them that sand gets all over and under their clothes -- until they get older.

  • Get Dirty In Mud


    Image via Bev Sykes/Flickr

    Mud! As parents, we hate it, but toddlers LOVE it. And that's exactly why parents have to let kids get dirty and not fear the mud, the worms, and all the dirty dirt.

  • Go on a Pony Ride


    Image via Mt. Hood Territory/Flickr

    Going on a pony ride for a kid is like entering into the magical world of fairytales -- and just about every child loves horses. It's one of the ultimate camera moments.

  • Feed a Baby Animal


    Image via Green Mountain Girls Farm/Flickr

    A child will get so much joy from feeding a baby animal, and the adorable giggles that come with it will fill your heart with happiness, too.

  • Stare at the Stars


    Image via uditha wickramanayaka/Flickr

    Kids should have time to really look at the stars, and when people do it as a family tradition beginning when the kids are young, it can be even more magical  -- even if it means staying up a little past bedtime to catch a glimpse.

  • Go on a Nighttime Flashlight Adventure


    Image via Stephen Zavestoski/Flickr

    Kids love flashlights, and taking a little one outside for an adventure hunt with flashlights makes it even more exciting. Although it might be just a quick loop around the house, this flashlight adventure will feel epic to a child.


  • Fly a Kite


    Image via Pawel Loj/Flickr

    Flying a kite is as exciting as flying an airplane for a child -- the pull of the wind and watching the kite high in the air is amazing for a little one to see.

  • Collect Rocks


    Image via Dennis Wong/Flickr

    When the kids get older, they will want to collect things that cost money, but when they are little, rocks rule (and cost nothing). Toddlers love searching for the perfect rock to add to their collection, and it's wonderful to see them so in touch with the earth.

  • Listen to Music on Headphones


    Image via Ted Johnson/Flickr

    A little one will love putting on headphones, but then when the music starts (on a low volume, of course), take delight at the amazement of the child.

  • Dance Like They Just Don't Care


    Image via Marc Milligan/Flickr

    Dancing when you're a child means dancing like you don't have a care in the world or a worry about who will see or if moves look ridiculous. Kids should dance early and often and anywhere!

  • Wear Costumes Anywhere They Want


    Image via popofatticus/Flickr

    My kids were in costumes playing in the house when we had to run to the store. I told them to change, but they didn't want to, and that's when I realized it didn't matter if I went to the supermarket with a superhero and a princess . In fact, it was better if I did.

  • Run Around Nakey After a Bath


    Image via Juhan Sonin/Flickr

    Before all the human hangups begin, before all the concern and worry, feeling free after a bath and being able to run around without a care in the world is something all kids should do -- and it's incredibly adorable!

  • Have Their Face Painted


    Image via Craig Baker/Flickr

    When a child gets her face painted, something changes and she often wants to be the character or animal or insect painted on her. It becomes like a game. This is the time to embody that spirit and to be able to walk around a fair or the neighborhood with beautiful butterflies or even spooky spiderwebs and delight in the transformation.

  • Play Ring Around the Rosy


    Image via Abigail Batchelder/Flickr

    The laughs, the silliness, the falling down and the giggling of getting back up -- playing Ring Around the Rosy as a kid is one of the simplest, purest, and best ways to have fun with friends.

  • Be Encouraged to Paint and Make a Mess


    Image via Julie Corsi/Flickr

    Allowing children to have a space to be creative without any fear of making a mess and ruining something in the house is vital to allow them to expand their minds and show off their creativity. It's a good lesson for them to learn to fully express themselves now, and it will benefit them through their whole life.

  • Meet a Superhero


    Image via Personal Creations/Flickr

    Kids love superheroes. They love dressing up in capes and masks and doing good deeds, big and small. Imagine the delight when a child meets a masked superhero in person?! Pure bliss!


  • Drive a "Truck"


    Image via Andrew Lawson/Flickr

    Kids are always seeing their parents drive cars and trucks -- and so when they see a car or truck at the fair (or a fun motorized one at home), it becomes one of those must-do things (along with eating cotton candy and ice cream!). In some ways, it makes them feel like they are independent and doing what Mommy and Daddy can do. (And it makes parents feel like the kids are growing up too fast). 

  • Run in a Field


    Image via Michael/Flickr

    There will be a time when the kids are teenagers and they may be too cool to do anything with their parents -- and running free in a field will make that list, too. So seize the moment when they are young and let them run and roam free (even though it may require supervision).

  • Be a Messy Eater


    Image via Nikki Tysoe/Flickr

    Adults are often ready with a napkin to keep their kids as clean as possible as they eat. But sometimes parents have to just let them make a big mess. They are only this age once, and they deserve to enjoy their ice cream and chocolate fudge without any concern that they are making a mess.

  • Fly


    Image via ccarlstead/Flickr

    Whether being held up high, carefully thrown in the air, or soaring on a swing, little ones deserve to fly -- and they will love it.

  • Play in the Snow


    Image via Abigail Batchelor/Flickr

    When people get older, they don't seem to be able to tolerate or enjoy the snow as much as they did when they were kids (perhaps it has to do with all the shoveling). But little ones come alive in the snow, so parents should bundle up and get out in it while they can.

  • Draw a Self-Portrait


    Image via The Paessel Family/Flickr

    My kids drew self-portraits as part of a preschool project and they are two of the drawings I cherish most -- and ones they are so proud of making. The likeness is amazing! We will do one every year until they decide it's not cool anymore (which I hope is never). Having the years and skills and their thoughts of themselves in a drawing is priceless.


  • Pin it! 

    25 Things Every Kid Should Do Before Kindergarten Pinterest Image

    For the moms who are about to send their kids off to kindergarten, these are 25 things you need to know before sending them off to their adventure 

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